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Julie Bindel: "I was followed through the campus grounds being screamed at by students . . . The pornographer I was debating was ignored"

 
Why has the Left become so averse to free speech? Whether it is Labour MPs, such as the redoubtable Thangham Debbonaire, bullied and laid into by Momentum thugs for attending a rally against anti-Semitism, or the transgender cabal hell-bent on destroying anyone who disagrees with a single word of their Orwell-ian propaganda, silencing by some leftists has become ridiculous in the extreme.

In an article for the New York Times recently, the German academic Ulrich Baer wrote: “The idea of freedom of speech does not mean a blanket permission to say anything anybody thinks. It means balancing the inherent value of a given view with the obligation to ensure that other members of a given community can participate in discourse as fully recognised members of that community.” How true.

By far the worst censors and McCarthyites are the transgender activists and their allies. Guardian commentator and Corbynista Owen Jones has angered a number of feminists by telling them they are “on the wrong side of history” because they believe they have the right to discuss their rights as women, and because they refuse to accept that “trans women are women” and that “some women have penises, some men menstruate”,  as goes the trans-lunatic mantra.

There are currently any number of men on the Left who are happy to see women like me silenced and bullied for not toeing the party line. It suits men such as Jones to be able to scream “transphobe” at feminists whilst being seen as a “progressive” by other leftist men.

I recently attended a meeting organised by a group of feminists in Bristol who were concerned about the proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act that would enable any man to “self-identify” as a woman (or vice versa) without any medical intervention whatsoever.

The organisers had, for the first time in the history of such events, released details of the time and place prior to the meeting. In the past, trans activists had bullied and harangued the venues that had hosted individuals, such as myself, who are considered to be “transphobic” until they achieved the desired result and forced the venue to cancel. This time, the venue, a well-known community centre that has hosted a number of “progressive” events attended by liberals and leftists, refused to be intimidated. They were inundated with angry and threatening emails and telephone calls (beginning as soon as the venue was advertised) and promises to disrupt the meeting for “promoting hate speech”.

On my arrival, one hour before the event was due to begin, I was greeted by dozens of activists blocking all of the entrances as well as the stairwell. They were waving banners and placards with slogans such as “No TERFS [Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists]  on our Turf” and “Transphobia Kills”. The protesters had donned black balaclavas, jackboots, and combat trousers, with some holding very large dogs.
I was there to report on the event rather than speak at it, but was nevertheless blocked from entering the building. One trans activist, a man who identified as a woman, his face covered in a black mask, kept trying to knock my phone out of my hand, while another, this time a woman, screamed at me that “transphobia is violence”.

Police arrived early on but did nothing except capitulate to the protesters, and find a way to lead the attendees into the building via a side door. Why are they so reluctant to intervene?  I heard a man who had come to hear what the feminists had to say called a “scab” by one of the trans activists.

Even some judges are scared to challenge these thugs. In a recent case a trans activist was convicted of violently assaulting a 60-year-old woman in a bid to stop her and others from attending a meeting to discuss the gender identity madness. The judge insisted that the victim referred to her aggressor as “she” throughout.

Universities are also riddled with censorious hypocrites, revelling in power and sanctimonious piety. The National Union of Students is largely responsible for this vile culture of silencing.

I recall one particularly nasty episode recently when I was invited by staff (as opposed to students) to debate a pornographer at Essex University. Prior to the event there was the usual attempt to ban me appearing at Essex at all, as this po-faced, jargon-drenched petition indicates: “We don’t believe any university that claims to be trying to create safer spaces for women can tolerate the presence of Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminism on Campus, and we need to do our best to cancel this event.”

I was followed through the campus grounds being screamed at by students, all accusing me of the usual smorgasbord of transphobia, Islamophobia, etc. The pornographer I was debating, a vile individual who had won awards for producing hard-core rape propaganda, was ignored.

As I was leaving the lecture hall, I could hear the little babies screeching on about how unsafe their space was because I was on campus. I asked if they would talk to me in a civil manner, and one of them replied that he did not “allow hate speech” in his vicinity.

The new McCarthyism has become firmly embedded within gay male culture. Many feminists have long been critical of gay men dressing and performing the worst parodies of femininity, but when we have complained, few took notice. When I, in the early 1980s, heckled a drag act at a gay club in Leeds, I was beaten up and thrown down the stairs by gay men, while the bouncers stood and laughed.

However, in 2015, drag was banned by Free Pride Glasgow because “transgender people do not wish to be parodied”. This is Orwellian in the extreme. Actual women are not allowed to be offended by men using nasty, misogynistic stereotypes to “play the part” of a woman for entertainment, in case men who claim to be women, but who are actually men, get offended. But women, when we object, are “transphobic”. Perhaps Alice could pass me the looking glass?
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observer
June 3rd, 2018
12:06 PM
It is puzzling to me how anything as fringe and extreme as transgender politics should so rapidly go mainstream - to the extent that organisations, public and private, now rush to appease the activists. Are there networks of influence that give these extremists a short cut to power? Or has public life in this country become dominated by spineless do-gooders who,like over-indulgent parents, rush to make amends as soon as they are accused of discrimination, barely taking time to consider the merits of the accusation.

observer
June 3rd, 2018
12:06 PM
New McCarthyism? I don't think so. This new wave of thuggish Leftist intimidation has more of the character of Mao's cultural revolution about it.

Helen Sherriff
June 3rd, 2018
4:06 AM
"I was followed through the campus grounds being screamed at by students, all accusing me of the usual smorgasbord of transphobia, Islamophobia, etc. The pornographer I was debating, a vile individual who had won awards for producing hard-core rape propaganda, was ignored."

Jeremy Cox
June 1st, 2018
8:06 PM
Gender is recognised at birth not assigned. Dependent on biology not delusional beliefs

matt
June 1st, 2018
5:06 PM
Yes Julie. This trans stuff and the antics of its supporters are wicked madness.

NeedaGin
May 31st, 2018
12:05 PM
Spot on, Julie. Keep on keeping on x

Leigh
May 31st, 2018
9:05 AM
Another brilliant article Julie. The left is a disgrace for allowing and encouraging this. It’s easy to see now how fascism takes over.

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